From Paphos to Zagreb: Technology is helping visitors see ancient cities through a new lens | Tech US News

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Imagine traveling to a city where all tourist offers are available in one application and in your native language. Where you don’t need queue for galleries because the installations can be conjured up using your smartphone. Or where virtual reality (VR) reconstructions of historical events come to life heritage sites.

Smart cities are redefining themselves tourism.

Two years of pandemic-related travel restrictions have changed the way we experience the world. Virtual visits helped us explore destinations from the comfort of our sofas and business trips declined as video calling took over.

Now borders have reopened, countries are capitalizing on this technology to attract tourists and enhance their experiences.

The term ‘smart city‘might make you think robots walking the streets, flying cars crossing the skies or artificial intelligence controlling public services. The reality is a little different, but no less exciting.

Being a smart city means standing out accessibility, sustainabilitydigitization, creativity and protection of cultural heritage.

DenmarkThe capital led the way in this even before the pandemic. O Copenhagen The Visitor Service invites tourists to plan their itineraries with the help of touch screen guides, robotics and VR glasses, while an app disseminates information and collects data to help improve the service.

Hoping to join these ranks, destinations like Zagreb in Croatia and Paphos in Cyprus spare no effort. They are using technologies such as augmented reality (AR) to create virtual experiences that are usually reserved for the gaming industry.

With these initiatives, both cities have been shortlisted for the European Capital of Smart Tourism 2023, a competition that recognizes outstanding achievements by European cities as tourist destinations.

AR transforms Zagreb into a giant virtual art exhibition

Last month, the Zagreb Tourism Board partnered with technology company Equinox to turn the capital of Croatia in a giant virtual art exhibition, called Art Future.

Visitors were invited to download the Equinox XR app on their phones. Once they arrived at the location of a particular “facility”, they could open their camera in and out of the app work of art superimposed on AR, a familiar experience for all Pokémon GO players.

“Augmented reality is a technology that allows people to experience virtual content, embedded in the real world around them,” explains Ivan Voras, founder of Equinox and technical director of the exhibition.

“This can be achieved through special hardware such as glasses, but it is much more efficient and reaches a wider audience these days to do it through mobile phones“.

Nineteen contemporary artists, animators and 3D modelers from around the world showcased their ‘locative art’ – virtual Art in real life locations – in Art Future.

“Visitors and residents [could] see works of art created by great international artists in almost every square or park in the city,” says Ivan. The topics covered the polarizing world of NFTsthe healing power of art and conceptual solutions for global warming.

This was not the first time Equinox teamed up with the Zagreb Tourist Board for a forward-looking exhibition. At Christmas they placed animated and interactive gift boxes around town for people to find.

Both projects created digital exhibits firmly rooted in the real world and demonstrated how technology can be used for improvement tourist attractive without the need for large infrastructures.

Paphos brings its legendary historic sites to life through your smartphone

Paphos in the southwest cyprus is a popular tourist destination. The coastal city is known as the legendary birthplace of Aphrodite, and its ancient remains deserve it UNESCO World Heritage status

Taking advantage of the city mythical past in a futuristic way, the Paphos tourist board has developed an app that allows users to bring its legendary history to life.

The Aphrodite’s Birthplace app interacts with three different scenes from the myth.

“By pointing the device at multiple locations on the Beachthe app allows you to experience an animated Aphrodite in a real environment,” explains Nasos Hadjigeorgiou, head of the Paphos Regional Tourism Board.

Users can see Aphrodite rising from the waves while giving birth or spying on her relaxing on the beach in augmented reality.

“The main reason to use AR is to make the intangible part of the experience tangible, by providing digital information and interaction in a real environment,” says Nasos.

Soon, culture lovers interested in learning more about the myth of Aphrodite will have a new tool at their service.

“We are in the final stages of developing a complete application about the myth of Aphrodite. This will include information and places related to the birth and life of the Goddess,” says Nasos.

In addition to this new application, the Paphos tourist board has big plans for yours intelligent tourism project.

“We are also investing heavily in smart signs, turning static signs into interactive ones [ones]”, says Nasos. This will bring 360 degree tours, audio guides in various languagesvideos and photos at the fingertips of visitors.

What can travelers expect from smart destinations in the future?

Like the tourism sector continues to embrace technology, smart destinations are likely to become the norm.

This can materialize in thousands of ways, creating smoother, more memorable and personalized experiences for tourists.

Museums will be more interactive, milestones it could be digitally overlaid with historical photos and information, and tourists can see how busy attractions are in real time so you can plan your visits accordingly.

Tourism boards will take advantage of technology in increasingly creative ways, blurring the lines between the digital and physical worlds. For example, Visit Sweden recently released ‘Spellbound by Sweden’, an audiobook full of folklore whose ending can only be heard when you’re physically present in a Swede. forest.

There is still a huge gap to overcome between the traditional ones destinations and the smart cities we want to visit. But the advances we are seeing in tourism already give us an idea of ​​what the trips will be like future.

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